I’m afraid there will be no city- or landscapes posted here for another month or so. Two weeks into the new year and I broke my foot. I knew I needed to become more humble and slow down and focus on the important but was this the way to go? Well, I may postpone skiing and skating to next winter, and walking without crutches for another 18 days.
As I said before, I think I may even learn something from it, no matter how incapacitated and clumsy I feel now. I just received a pair of proper shell pants that I had been longing for for years. The skates I ordered are at the post office, waiting for a pick up. And when I tell you that it was not the weather or Finnish winter (trying to kill you every year) but a plummet from a chair, you may understand the vast irony of this.
An inevitable consequence to enjoying photography is that about 95% of all pictures taken by me are of people. In particular, of two people. I have very few pictures of myself (think LinkedIn profile picture for example – looking good, representative, but a bit edgy at the same time. Mission impossible.) and almost none that I could look at without cringing. Well. This post is a short tribute to those two special people and to that great bond they have – and to all other great dads there are.
Why am I posting it? Well I don’t know, these two are so damn cute, that is the first reason – she would never rest this peacefully in my arms. Also, you can totally feel the affection. The pictures are only from the past, I don’t know, two months, taken with a point-and-shoot camera on the go (totally not staged) and yet we get all the colours of love. The simpler the tool (camera), the more I’m enjoying using it and the better results I get… (ok fine I could have got rid of the dust).
After a summer break we are back to the comfort of the everyday. I missed my home, my peace and my local context, no matter how messy it was. I think I must have packed our bags at least ten times this summer, slept in ten different beds at least and although this sounds exciting and fascinating, it has felt surreal again. Curtailed. Unreal. Surrogate.
While visiting Prague I tried to occupy myself with trips and visits in order to avoid feeling nostalgic about the physical home. It did its job as a distraction, but all places we visited (although for the first time) felt strangely familiar to me. Oh and of course I have been using Lea as a proxy to re-establish my Prague identity (and as a reason to do silly things in public). We had some great and some intense times, too, and now I’m back and my diary is full and the dark side of my diary is full of meetings and deeds long overdue and… well let’s get going.
You will see, the everyday is when life actually happens.
The other day – before the major mess-up – I was hanging out laundry on the balcony. For a change it was sunny outside (albeit windy). And suddenly I noticed this soothing, almost ASMR-like, sound. For a moment I could not place it and then it struck me: it was the sound of rustling leaves. Something I had not really heard in half a year and something I already got used to since this happened. So now when little L. asks me whether the summer has already come, I can with a clear conscience say Yes, m’darling, this is summer.
PS. Apparently there is an umbrella term for sounds of the wind in the trees: psithurism. You are welcome.
Tomorrow the summer starts officially as we just reached the end of the school year. And it is bittersweet for me – I absolutely love the light and lush verdure and the memory of the freedom to uninterruptedly do things that one really likes to do for two months. And, indeed, it is only a memory of the times, smells, tastes and feelings that I will never experience again.
Turtledoves cooing, birds singing, circular saw buzzing. Hot donuts for breakfasts and eating lunch cold. That big pot of cherry compote. Turning book pages with fingers sticky from berries. Walking, thinking, feeling. Warm evening talks with whoever. Rough bark, sticky city centre and the smell of chlorine from the swimming behind my nails. The chill on the skin when entering grandmas house on a hot summer day. I miss those days, I miss experimenting with freedom, feeling nature against my body and I miss being a teen grand-daughter.
I tried to recreate at least some of these sensations with the help of a three year old. Almost, but not quite yet.
I wrote on one of my other blogs that I kindled yet another passion: Finnish urban shopping malls from the 1960-80s. Why?
Firstly, because the architecture: the original designs were practical, airy, light and the floor plan actually worked. And it would work even today, but these old ostarit are deteriorating, all decent (read: consumerist) establishments had left a long time ago.
Secondly, because they are now being overshadowed by those shopping malls hells where we (all of us) actually sometimes shop at and these little reminders of the past stay still and patiently wait for their destiny. Many have already been demolished and given way for high-rises and soulless cookie-cutter minimalls.
Thirdly, they attract a lot of marginalised groups of population (some common factors would be poverty, substance abuse or ethnic heritage) and marginal(ised) establishments (think third sector, second hands, speciality non-hipster stores).
After I have taken pictures of some, I will then start going behind the doors. Who knows, maybe even behind the closed ones.
Although there was this common recommendation not to travel to Lapland we… we decided to do it anyways. At the end of the day, we felt much safer in a cabin in the fells than in a flat in the capital region. Opportunities for meeting others were very limited and even more limited for those who injured their knees on the first day and were then unable to part-take in any decent winter activities.
Except from walking short distances and visiting a reindeer farm.
And yes, the (real) North remains what it has been for me since the first day I set my tired foot there (Kiruna, a.d. 2012). I have never been calmer and happier anywhere else. Maybe one day you will find me herding reindeer and spending evenings drinking black coffee and chewing on reindeer jerkies.
I admit this is – photography-wise – nothing overly original, after all these are basically cracks in the ice and some random snowy/shadowy arrangement, but I just wanted to take pictures of something that is not a toddler so bad…
Other than that, ice cracks mean that the spring is on its way. Finnish spring though, so dripping water, melting snow and more sunshine.
Apparently I posted nothing the whole seemingly-dead month. Sorry, my dear readers. It was a great winter month this year, cold and snowy, at times sunny and socially awkward. Here, enjoy some seemingly dead flowers and a not-so-seemingly-dad toddlers that I came across.
Is nearly over and it has been the best year of 2021 so far! I have been reasonably busy, partly buried in snow and enjoying those moments between Instagramable walks, fun outings and inspirational meetings. In fact, I met someone last week, and I think that this experience may change my life. The little one keeps amazing me – recently through being so independent and spending her first night without parents.
And then some really bizarre things happened to flowers and plants forgotten outside at the mercy of Finnish winter.